Comixology iOS users slam decision to get rid of in-app purchases

Comixology, one of the top-grossing apps made for Apple's iOS platform, was abruptly updated over the weekend with a change that will now force all iPhone and iPad users to purchase their new comics from the company's website.

In a statement sent to Engadget, Comixology stated that the reason for this change was related to its recent acquisition by Amazon, which also does not have an in-app purchasing system for its iOS Kindle app. It stated that users will actually have more choice by purchasing comics on the web and syncing them to their iOS app. In addition to the iOS app, Comixology on Android now has a new in-app purchasing system that does away with buying comics via the Google Play system.

Comixology is trying to make this change easier for its users by offering a generous $5 credit towards purchasing new comics from their service. However, the app reviews for the iOS version have taken a turn for the worse following the changes on Saturday as many users are highly critical of the decision to remove the in-app purchase. The overall review rating for the app is now at one and a half stars. One comment stated, "Adding the extra step of going to their website to purchase the comic, then having to return to the device on which you want to read it, is completely unnecessary."

Source: Comixology via Engadget | Image via Comixology

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Eh, switched back to buying physical comics from digital comics via Comixology a while ago. I bought a few comics digitally that I could have resold and made a bit of a profit if I bought the physical copies instead.

I know some people Who buy discounted iTunes gift cards for their purchases. This change completely eradicates using their remaining iTunes gift card balance to purchase additional comics. Like others have said, it is very convenient to go through one processing system versus giving your credit card information to another company. All the average customer will see from this change is another hurdle to jump through. Not every mom-and pop knows about the intricacies of Apple's payment system they just know they buy apps by things in the apps and that's it.

betax said,
I know some people Who buy discounted iTunes gift cards for their purchases. This change completely eradicates using their remaining iTunes gift card balance to purchase additional comics. Like others have said, it is very convenient to go through one processing system versus giving your credit card information to another company. All the average customer will see from this change is another hurdle to jump through. Not every mom-and pop knows about the intricacies of Apple's payment system they just know they buy apps by things in the apps and that's it.
TIL: The majority of people buy discounted iTunes gift cards. And they have no idea how to pay for stuff on websites. Thx.

benthebear said,
How does, "I know some people who buy discounted iTunes gift cards," become, "The majority of people..." ?
The premise of the original statement assumes that it's statically significant enough to make this action a bad decision.

I don't read comics or use this app, but I guess that they are trying to avoid paying Apple any fees. Customers are reasonably rattler by this change but I don't see why I wouldn't purchase the comics on their website and have them synced to my device. I do this with my Kindle books and it works just fine.

I read a comment on Twitter saying that Comixology should have just rise the prices by 30% and perhaps people wouldn't be complaining this much. It could be right, but as a customer I would prefer they keep they prices where they are and do away with in-app purchases.

ajua said,
I don't read comics or use this app, but I guess that they are trying to avoid paying Apple any fees. Customers are reasonably rattler by this change but I don't see why I wouldn't purchase the comics on their website and have them synced to my device. I do this with my Kindle books and it works just fine.

Because it's less convenient? Because ComiXology needs your credit card info? Because paying through the website is actually more expensive if you're an international customer?

a0me said,

Because it's less convenient? Because ComiXology needs your credit card info? Because paying through the website is actually more expensive if you're an international customer?

I have always been buying through the website because it's cheaper for international customers. The $1.99 I pay for an issue translates to 11.99 NOK compared to the 14 NOK I'd be charged for buying the same issue through the in-app purchase.

Also, with PayPal you don't have to give any CC information.

And you can still just open a web browser and purchase the comics on your iPad; I did that just yesterday, and it wasn't less convenient at all.

So all your points are invalid.

It's cheaper maybe for you, but not in all countries and PayPal exchange rates are infamously high.
And unless I'm missing something -or it works differently depending on the county you live in- but you need to link your PayPal account to an actual bank account.

a0me said,
It's cheaper maybe for you, but not in all countries and PayPal exchange rates are infamously high.
And unless I'm missing something -or it works differently depending on the county you live in- but you need to link your PayPal account to an actual bank account.

You can link it to credit cards, bank accounts or even deposit money manually, I believe. And my point is that you seem to imply that the issues apply to all international customers, but that is just wrong (Norway being an example of that).

But I can agree that this might not be ideal for all international customers, of course. :)

a0me said,
It's cheaper maybe for you, but not in all countries and PayPal exchange rates are infamously high.
And unless I'm missing something -or it works differently depending on the county you live in- but you need to link your PayPal account to an actual bank account.

I get charged in USD when buying with PayPal and my bank does the exchange rate when my card (Mexico) gets the charge. I find this very convenient and if given the choice (Amazon's exchange converter IS infamously high, for example) I use the USD option so my bank does the exchange and not the website/service I'm buying from.

It could be different in other countries, though.

a0me said,
It's cheaper maybe for you, but not in all countries and PayPal exchange rates are infamously high.
And unless I'm missing something -or it works differently depending on the county you live in- but you need to link your PayPal account to an actual bank account.

I'd like to at least once see you back up this claim you give that it becomes more expensive for you through the website

personally I liked the in app purchases, it's convenient fast and easy, and I don't need to deal with safari crashing if it needs to load more than 5kb worth of images or soemthing.

but I have yet to see any real proof that the website magically applies 10 dollar exchange fee onto every 12 dollar purchase, or something else silly.

a0me said,

Because it's less convenient? Because ComiXology needs your credit card info? Because paying through the website is actually more expensive if you're an international customer?
I wish I had a crystal ball to see how many websites have had your credit card info or of which services you've paid international fees. Get a grip dude

a) If you use a credit card and not a debit card on a website your only real tangible risk is having to change all of your saved credit card info on services when you dispute a charge. If you use a debit card you're a moron and deserve the headache.

b) If I buy a good or service from another country I pay my fees that are generally very low. I don't cry about it. I could very easily just buy that good or service from inside my country. If you can't, tough. I don't know why every service provider has to offer home town service to every country around the globe these days.

The older system worked perfectly seamlessly and now that it's been ruined by Amazon, your answer is that I'm a moron and I should move to another country to buy comics? You guys crack me up.

a0me said,
The older system worked perfectly seamlessly and now that it's been ruined by Amazon, your answer is that I'm a moron and I should move to another country to buy comics? You guys crack me up.
No, your assumption is that they are morons and did not consider the effects of the change. As far as move to another country... you don't need to... you just need to go to a website.

a0me said,
The older system worked perfectly seamlessly and now that it's been ruined by Amazon, your answer is that I'm a moron and I should move to another country to buy comics? You guys crack me up.

No, I merely asked you to back up your claim that it supposedly costs you a fortune in exchange fee to buy comics through their website with a credit/debit/paypal.

Amazon are not morons. They don't care if they're alienating a large part of their consumers or if they're losing sales; this move is only an attempt to hurt Apple, not by making Amazon's platform better, but by trying to degrade the experience on their competitors' platform.
As for "just going to a website", it's great but it still requires you to give out your credit card info/use PayPal, which is a deal breaker for me.

Who said anything about costing a "fortune"? I did say that it costs more as you need to pay for always changing international exchange rates.
The bigger issue with using credit/PayPal is that on top of putting your cc info at risk, you also lose the ability to use prepaid iTunes cards for budgeting and keeping your family spending (particularly if you have kids) within limits.

a0me said,
Who said anything about costing a "fortune"? I did say that it costs more as you need to pay for always changing international exchange rates.
The bigger issue with using credit/PayPal is that on top of putting your cc info at risk, you also lose the ability to use prepaid iTunes cards for budgeting and keeping your family spending (particularly if you have kids) within limits.

There does exist pre-paid debit cards as an alternative (not saying it's as good an option as iTunes cards, but it is still an alternative).

a0me said,
Amazon are not morons. They don't care if they're alienating a large part of their consumers or if they're losing sales; this move is only an attempt to hurt Apple, not by making Amazon's platform better, but by trying to degrade the experience on their competitors' platform.
As for "just going to a website", it's great but it still requires you to give out your credit card info/use PayPal, which is a deal breaker for me.
It sounds as if they'll risk losing people who have irrational expectations of companies they'd like to patronize.

1. Amazon's goal is to make money, not hurt Apple. To think otherwise is silly.

2. Assuming they are alienating a large part of their consumers is highly subjective and, again, I'd imagine Amazon did some much more broad thinking than you when considering this move.

3. If giving a company your credit card for payment is an issue for you I hope you only use cash, it's even more at risk when given to your local waiter than giving it to a semi-competent website. But if that's your choice then it's pretty obvious Amazon doesn't care about having *you* as a customer.

a0me said,
Who said anything about costing a "fortune"? I did say that it costs more as you need to pay for always changing international exchange rates.
The bigger issue with using credit/PayPal is that on top of putting your cc info at risk, you also lose the ability to use prepaid iTunes cards for budgeting and keeping your family spending (particularly if you have kids) within limits.
You're paying exchange rates in the Apple store it is just included in the price. There is no free lunch.

a0me said,
Who said anything about costing a "fortune"? I did say that it costs more as you need to pay for always changing international exchange rates.
The bigger issue with using credit/PayPal is that on top of putting your cc info at risk, you also lose the ability to use prepaid iTunes cards for budgeting and keeping your family spending (particularly if you have kids) within limits.

But it's already been shown to be cheaper. you can set aside money with pre pair credit cards or some banks have electronic cards you set up specifically for online shopping. You could even just add funds to a paypal account and use that as a makeshift version.

MrHumpty said,
It sounds as if they'll risk losing people who have irrational expectations of companies they'd like to patronize.

1. Amazon's goal is to make money, not hurt Apple. To think otherwise is silly.


Hi Mr. Bezos. Thank you for taking the time to post on Neowin!
2. Assuming they are alienating a large part of their consumers is highly subjective and, again, I'd imagine Amazon did some much more broad thinking than you when considering this move.

See above. Amazon is taking a loss now to push their platform, whatever the cost. Most people in the comics industry understands that (take a look at Conway or even Waid's post on the subject).
3. If giving a company your credit card for payment is an issue for you I hope you only use cash, it's even more at risk when given to your local waiter than giving it to a semi-competent website. But if that's your choice then it's pretty obvious Amazon doesn't care about having *you* as a customer.

I only use my credit card sparingly and pay with cash most of the time. I've also been an Amazon Prime member for years (although not the US version), so I'm far from being the anti-Amazon guy you think I am.

HawkMan said,

But it's already been shown to be cheaper. you can set aside money with pre pair credit cards or some banks have electronic cards you set up specifically for online shopping. You could even just add funds to a paypal account and use that as a makeshift version.


I must have missed the part where using a credit card/PayPal + exchange rates was cheaper. Can you point me in the right direction? And as I said my main issue was with the loss of convenience and the risk/lack of control incurred by giving away my credit card info.

MrHumpty said,
You're paying exchange rates in the Apple store it is just included in the price. There is no free lunch.

It may well be included in the price, but unlike exchange rates that change daily, prices on the App Store almost never change.

a0me said,

I must have missed the part where using a credit card/PayPal + exchange rates was cheaper. Can you point me in the right direction? And as I said my main issue was with the loss of convenience and the risk/lack of control incurred by giving away my credit card info.

Lamp Posts posts in the above thread, slightly cheaper with pay pal/credit card rather than IAP

a0me said,
Hi Mr. Bezos. Thank you for taking the time to post on Neowin!
Sick burn. Bezos is there for the money not the loss
See above. Amazon is taking a loss now to push their platform, whatever the cost. Most people in the comics industry understands that (take a look at Conway or even Waid's post on the subject).
They don't care about the platform, they care about the services. Cutting out the middle man makes sense and is why so many have bothered going it on iOS. Amazon is a low margin juggernaut.
I only use my credit card sparingly and pay with cash most of the time. I've also been an Amazon Prime member for years (although not the US version), so I'm far from being the anti-Amazon guy you think I am.
I don't think you're anti-amazon. I think you're projecting illogical motives on people just because they don't fit your niche of "I pay cash most places." Pre-Paid CC's are Cash.

a0me said,
It may well be included in the price, but unlike exchange rates that change daily, prices on the App Store almost never change.
They high-ball their rates to not have to fluctuate them. There is no free lunch. I'd imagine that if you paid the actual exchange rates you'd come out on top.

If the comics don't get cheaper then it's a bad decision. In-app purchases are extremely convenient for the end user.

Avoiding costs like these can be used to avoid the necessity of increasing the cost of the sale. So it could be "cheaper" in a way that you'll never see

The comics are actually more expensive for international customers who now have to pay bank fees and ridiculous exchange rates.

a0me said,
The comics are actually more expensive for international customers who now have to pay bank fees and ridiculous exchange rates.

$1.99 translates to 11.99 NOK compared to the 14 NOK charged through the in-app purchase.

That's great for people living in Norway. So you're suggesting I move to Norway in order to buy some comics? I'm sure that Norway is a great place to live but maybe it's a bit extreme.

a0me said,
That's great for people living in Norway. So you're suggesting I move to Norway in order to buy some comics? I'm sure that Norway is a great place to live but maybe it's a bit extreme.

My point is that your argument isn't valid for international customers in general.

EDIT: And yes, Norway is a great place to live. ;)

what exchange fees. All services I've used use the international exchange rate at the time of purchase, and there's no giant fee on top.

Eclipse77 said,
Sees "Slam" in article title. Checks author. Yep, it's John "use slam in every article title" Callaham.

And yet guys like you still make these idiotic replies. I for one enjoy his articles and f anyone should be forbidden to "write" here, it's guys like you. If you don't like the article, click the little X button on the tab and the page closes. But constantly complaining is plain disrespectful.

Not saying his articles aren't any good. He just massively over uses the word slam. Just go through all his articles. A massive percentage use slam in the article title. It's kind of ridiculous after a while.

Eclipse77 said,
Not saying his articles aren't any good. He just massively over uses the word slam. Just go through all his articles. A massive percentage use slam in the article title. It's kind of ridiculous after a while.

To give him some credit, a couple of days ago he used "take to task" instead of slam.

Eclipse77 said,
Not saying his articles aren't any good. He just massively over uses the word slam. Just go through all his articles. A massive percentage use slam in the article title. It's kind of ridiculous after a while.

I might have over reacted with my first reply and I apologize. But in my opinion, the naming of the article never mattered to me. I was always more interested in the article itself and user replies.

Most of my purchase are while i am on the train or at the airport waiting to travel, or already traveling. Why the HELL would they do this?

1/2 the reason to have the app is to purchase the other 1/2 is to read.

Altima said,
Most of my purchase are while i am on the train or at the airport waiting to travel, or already traveling. Why the HELL would they do this?

1/2 the reason to have the app is to purchase the other 1/2 is to read.

If only you could use this thing called a web browser while on a train or in an airport.

a0me said,
Not all of us want (or can) give our credit card info to every random websites out there.

Then use PayPal like every other sane person.

Except that PayPal has ridiculous exchange rates (I live abroad) and has had more data breach than I can count (I'm not giving them my credit card info).

I don't think you've ever used ComiXology's webstore. Payments are not handled by Amazon.
And even if they were, I don't feel comfortable giving my credit card info to Amazon (or Apple for that matter) and I don't want to pay exchange rates every time I buy a comics.

a0me said,
Except that PayPal has ridiculous exchange rates (I live abroad) and has had more data breach than I can count (I'm not giving them my credit card info).

$1.99 equals about 12.43 NOK according to PayPal exchange rates; still cheaper than the 14 NOK charged by the in-app purchase. Do they have very horrible exchange rates for just some currencies or what? :s

ranpha said,
Amazon supporting Paypal? What world did you live in?

Comixology supports PayPal.

a0me said,
Not all of us want (or can) give our credit card info to every random websites out there.
If the service is compelling enough, guess what? People do.

Not a big issue IMHO, amazon kiddle for iPad you have to do the same. Seems like they are trying to stop paying apple 30% of each sale. If it lowers the cost by 10% then yea i think people will stop complaining.

a0me said,
If you really think that Amazon will pass the 30% on to the consumers, I've got a bridge to sell you.

I think you might have misunderstood him. If Amazon lowered the prices by 10% (lower prices == happier customers) while removing the in-app purchase option, they'd still get 2/3 of the cut they used to pay to Apple and they'd maybe not get as much negative feedback (due to lower prices making customers happier).

He never actually suggested that they'd give 30% back to the customer, that would make this whole move utterly pointless. :p

The_Observer said,
Not a big issue IMHO, amazon kiddle for iPad you have to do the same. Seems like they are trying to stop paying apple 30% of each sale.

Every e-book store has skipped an in-app purchase option in iOS apps for just this reason. I am surprised Comixology didn't do the same before Amazon acquired them.

Amazon does not allow you to buy digital music downloads on their main iOS app either. It think they just made a corporate decision that they would rather direct people to use http://www.amazon.com to make payments than give Apple 30%. Honestly, I think this is something Apple will need to address with large companies because it is not only Amazon. Credit card companies and distributors give discounts as your quantity goes up. If you are pumping millions of dollars through an app every month, 30% simply is not reasonable.

The number 1 reason I'd buy an iPad is for this app... Comics aren't that great on a 16:9 screen (still love my Surface though!)... but man, this seems like an unnecessary workaround for the end user.

ZipZapRap said,
The number 1 reason I'd buy an iPad is for this app... Comics aren't that great on a 16:9 screen (still love my Surface though!)... but man, this seems like an unnecessary workaround for the end user.

Maybe the comics I'm buying are abnormal, but 99% of them are closer to a 16:9 ratio than a 4:3 aspect ratio. So why do you prefer a 4:3 device?

A 4:3 device gives you more screen space. I forget the exact number, but a 10" 4:3 screen has something like 30% more square inches of screen space than a 10" 16:9 screen. Also, I agree that 4:3 is a more natural reading aspect ratio. As the screens get bigger, it matters less, but for smaller devices you want the screen to be the right shape for the content on it.

not having to pay the likes of apple 30p, 30c in the pound, dollar or euro. would be reason enough to pee off a few subscribers me thinks.

Cnónna said,
not having to pay the likes of apple 30p, 30c in the pound, dollar or euro. would be reason enough to pee off a few subscribers me thinks.
Yep. The cost of using your own processor is significantly less than 30%. I've chosen this route on iOS while rolling my own in app processing on Android and WP.

How is 30% a ransom? Do you understand the concept of distribution? Do you buy video games? Do you know how much publishers make on your $60 purchase at retail? Less than 50% of that, because the game needs to be distributed and sold at a store near you. Compare that with iOS or Android where 70% of what you pay goes directly into the creators' pocket.

a0me said,
How is 30% a ransom? Do you understand the concept of distribution?

do you? The incremental cost for Apple to allow this is pretty much zero. Its highway robbery that they demand a 30% cut, and the sooner more developers drop these "pirates" the better!

You're aware that Steam, Google and basically all other digital distribution platform all take a 30% cut, right?

a0me said,
You're aware that Steam, Google and basically all other digital distribution platform all take a 30% cut, right?

Doesn't make it right, "digital" distribution is pretty much free. A huge 30% markup would even be highway robbery if they had to produce CDs/DVDs, package & print instructions with them, ship them to a B&M store who would put them on a shelf and advertise them, with a REAL person there to answer questions.

And any game I buy on Steam costs at least 10% more than if I were to buy it in a store. Doesn't make much sense to me.

If it's pretty much free then please explain why most content creators go through these distribution platforms. I know that the App Store is pretty much unavoidable on iOS, but what about Google or Steam? It it was "highway robbery" why would developers still flock to these platforms?

Well no offence, but I like to limit the number of places that have my CC details, so I'll go somewhere else. And if they lose 30% of the Apple userbase, then the "savings" aren't gonna really be there.

They aren't gonna lower their prices, so they just want to milk up that money that used to go to Apple.. But that fee wasn't just paying for Apple to do the transaction, but also for the convenience of it. I will be amazed if the popularity of this app doesn't plummet in favor of the apps that still do the in-app purchases.

Poor decision, probably made by someone who didn't think it all the way through.

What you are receiving may be perceived as free however the costs are,

the review your app to be included into the app store
Hosting the app and then providing the bandwidth to allow people to download it
Sometimes advertising it

And then finally the most expensive is the CC handling, VISA, Mastercard and Amex charge quite a bit for every CC transaction they put through.

At the end of the day 30% isn't that much.

CC Companies charge 2-5%, depending..
But regardless.. the 30% is for the convenience.. YOU don't need to deal with transactions, and your users get to do it with one click in app..

There's a reason people chose to use Steam, rather than just having each game being it's on DL and unrelated.

REM2000 said,
What you are receiving may be perceived as free however the costs are,

the review your app to be included into the app store
Hosting the app and then providing the bandwidth to allow people to download it
Sometimes advertising it

And then finally the most expensive is the CC handling, VISA, Mastercard and Amex charge quite a bit for every CC transaction they put through.

At the end of the day 30% isn't that much.

All good points, except you are missing the most important one...

On iOS developers are LOCKED into Apple's system and Apple's costs.

If it was JUST the purchase of the App and Apple would allow them to use alternative or EXISTING payment processing systems it would not be an issue.

The thing is we don't want to use an alternative payment processing system. iTunes allow us not to worry about our credit card info, exchange rates and card fees.

dvb2000 said,

do you? The incremental cost for Apple to allow this is pretty much zero. Its highway robbery that they demand a 30% cut, and the sooner more developers drop these "pirates" the better!

Apple provides billing support. Someone upset about their ComiXology purchase, they call Apple about it not ComiXology (well, previously anyway). You folks seem quite clueless about a lot of things. 30% is high, I'll give you that, but please..stop with the nonsensical hyperbole that Apple doesn't do anything. For subscription based services I prefer going through Apple's in-app purchases because I can easily toggle those off without having to call some support line and be pressured to keep my sub.

a0me said,
How is 30% a ransom?
You must use it, regardless of your situtation or capabilities to provide any sort of in app purchasing of a digital good or service. That's how it is a ransom.
Do you understand the concept of distribution? Do you buy video games? Do you know how much publishers make on your $60 purchase at retail? Less than 50% of that, because the game needs to be distributed and sold at a store near you.
Just so we're clear, I'm supposed to take you as valid opponent in this argument when you compare the distribution of a video game via download vs at a gamestop?
a0me said,
You're aware that Steam, Google and basically all other digital distribution platform all take a 30% cut, right?
You realize that if you choose to sell your app for free and handle paying for the app, in app, and don't use their payment system the cost is 0%, right?

Let's take Office 365 as an example (as it really reflects my position). They already have a transaction processor, the capabilities to handle credit card transactions etc. etc. That 30% is a ransom as they don't need the services being offered. I, too, have an app as an auxiliary to my main service. I have a full payment/transaction/customer service setup. I do not need their service, yet, if I offer a way to use my payment services in-app my app gets denied access to the store. If I offer a way to, within the app, open a web view to allow them to use my website in my app to pay, I get denied. I have to tell the user to open a web browser to make the payment. Let's call a spade a spade here.

REM2000 said,
What you are receiving may be perceived as free however the costs are,

the review your app to be included into the app store
Hosting the app and then providing the bandwidth to allow people to download it
Sometimes advertising it

Of course, but they offer the ability to sell your application for free. That's their problem. And they do that because the things you listed above are relatively low cost.
And then finally the most expensive is the CC handling, VISA, Mastercard and Amex charge quite a bit for every CC transaction they put through.
You know nothing of credit card charges. Go check out BrainTree for example. 2.9% + 30cents a transaction and they will handle partner distributions and they will store the user's credit card (if you don't want to set that up)
At the end of the day 30% isn't that much.
Yes. Yes it is.

Apple is offering a service and for many 30% is reasonable, but it may be that Apple needs to look their pricing model again and see if they are charging too much. The fact that a number of large companies have removed or never offered in-app purchases on iOS indicates that maybe the prices are too high.

For large companies that have already built credit card payment systems on their webpage, 30% is a lot to pay just for a minor customer convenience. Maybe Apple should look at a pricing model based on total spent per app. If they start at 30% and then scale down to 10%, companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, Hulu and Google may be okay paying Apple so their customers do not need to use a web browser to make purchases.

Mobius Enigma said,

All good points, except you are missing the most important one...

On iOS developers are LOCKED into Apple's system and Apple's costs.

If it was JUST the purchase of the App and Apple would allow them to use alternative or EXISTING payment processing systems it would not be an issue.

They are not locked. They can use a 3rd party system, but the 3rd party system cannot be built into the App or even linked to from the app. Netflix, for example, does not pay Apple anything. You sign up for an account on Netflix.com and then download the free app. The only issue is if you don't have a Netflix account when you download the app, you may not know what to do. The app (due to Apple's rules) is a little unclear, just says to visit Netflix.com for more information.

sphbecker said,

They are not locked. They can use a 3rd party system, but the 3rd party system cannot be built into the App or even linked to from the app. Netflix, for example, does not pay Apple anything. You sign up for an account on Netflix.com and then download the free app. The only issue is if you don't have a Netflix account when you download the app, you may not know what to do. The app (due to Apple's rules) is a little unclear, just says to visit Netflix.com for more information.

If Apple relaxed their rules, then it would be trivial for developers to make a "locked down" free app that can only be "unlocked" via paying the developer through their web site. This would completely circumvent Apple's %.

Setting aside if we think 30% is high or reasonable, I think most folks who are intelligent (and not blinded by their hate of Apple) agree that Apple deserves some cut for offering the App Store service.

Shadrack said,
If Apple relaxed their rules, then it would be trivial for developers to make a "locked down" free app that can only be "unlocked" via paying the developer through their web site. This would completely circumvent Apple's %.
This is already possible on the other two platforms, Windows & Android. They survive just fine.
Setting aside if we think 30% is high or reasonable, I think most folks who are intelligent (and not blinded by their hate of Apple) agree that Apple deserves some cut for offering the App Store service.
If they are offering a service used by the dev then I agree. You pay a developer fee which easily covers most of the costs of having a record in a database, data in storage, and bandwidth. You, too, are offering value to apple just by having an app on their store... talk to Microsoft about how badly that's needed. But as far as in app purchases, if you create no cost to Apple offering that service via third party means... no, at no point to I believe Apple "deserves" any piece of that pie.

Lets be clear, I think 30% is fine. I just disagree with the idea that you *must* pay that for any digital product or service that a person initiates purchasing of from inside of your applications.

sphbecker said,
They are not locked. They can use a 3rd party system, but the 3rd party system cannot be built into the App or even linked to from the app. Netflix, for example, does not pay Apple anything. You sign up for an account on Netflix.com and then download the free app. The only issue is if you don't have a Netflix account when you download the app, you may not know what to do. The app (due to Apple's rules) is a little unclear, just says to visit Netflix.com for more information.
In the context of this conversation and in the context of his original post you've added nothing. The point is you *are* locked in when doing in app purchases. Nobody is arguing a counter to your point.

I gave an example of a popular app that is doing just fine working around Apple's "lock." I don't feel like that is out of context at all.